Bastards of Utopia

A remixable Documentary

Honk for Police

Dado and Maple make midnight stenciling rounds in Zagreb. Read More

Maple lived and worked with the people he was studying on a daily basis.  As an ethnographer, he pursued a research methodology that was not only politically engaged but also collaborative.  This ethnographic research form, known as militant ethnography, challenges the intellectual bias of anthropology: how our position as an outside observer entices us to construe the world as a spectacle, as a set of significations to be interpreted rather than as concrete problems to be solved practically.  The tendency to position oneself at a distance and treat social life as an object to decode rather than entering the flow and rhythm of ongoing social interaction hinders our ability to understand social practice (Juris 2008).

As such, Maple is an active participant in the direct actions of the activists, working in collaboration on projects such as the Free Store, in which he is even asked to play the role of a fake construction manager in the early stages.  For more on his position as a militant ethnographer during the Free Store action, watch the Boss Man.

We show Maple’s direct participation in daily life, we open the ethical and political choices he makes, as well as the relationships he forges with his informants, to the scrutiny of the camera and the audience.  For more on the role of video as ethnographic tool, and militant activism in general, watch Suffer the Class War.